Several hundred firefighters will be on the Arkansas Tech campus beginning Sunday for the sixth annual Arkansas River Valley Wildland Fire Academy.
In all, about 350 firefighters representing wildlife agencies from Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri will be attending the academy, which is hosted by the Professional Development Institute at Arkansas Tech.
The academy will run through May 28, and those attending will be able to choose from 25 courses geared toward wildland firefighters.
Organizers say the courses are taught by instructors from state and federal agencies, and those in attendance receive a “broader view of the profession,” due to the various experiences of the instructors.
In addition to classroom instruction, firefighters also participate in field training during the two-week academy.
Officials say the academy “strives to provide a diverse and well-rounded learning experience in a friendly and welcoming environment.”
Agencies participating in the 2010 Arkansas River Valley Wildland Fire Academy include:
- U.S. Forest Service
- Arkansas Forestry Commission
- Bureau of Indian Affairs
- National Park Service
- Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
- The Nature Conservancy
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Oklahoma Department of Forestry
- Department of Defense Personnel
- Oklahoma Native American tribes (Apache Tribe, Caddo Nation, Cherokee Nation, Choctaw Nation, Kiowa Nation and Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma)
This year’s academy is in memory of Dennis Sponer. Sponer served as the training and safety coordinator for the Arkansas Forestry Commission for 22 years.